By: Sean Nasi, DePaul University digital cinema major ’15
DePaul Diaries is a day-in-the-life blog series written by DePaul students. The series unveils DePaulians’ experiences as interns in their field of choice. Students share their honest thoughts about their experiences, what they learned as an intern and advice for students who are interested in the same field.
Saad Riaz, a computer science student, came out of his experience as a UX design intern at Perkins + Will with nothing but great things to say.
“I learned how to solve problems in a real world environment where small decisions had very large effects,” Saad said. According to Saad, none of that learning would have been possible had it not been for his amazing colleagues at Perkins + Will. Saad enjoyed being taught by his mentors, who had an “open door” policy. They made themselves available whenever he needed help, even extending past the office into corporate basketball, ping-pong matches and breaks in the coffee room.
“Murali Selvaraj, the chief information officer, is the most dynamic person I have ever met; he was very experienced, sharp and energetic,” Saad said about one of his mentors. “Every conversation I had with him was a learning experience. He had an ability to spark great ideas on the fly—and he really taught me how to take a thought or idea and convert it into an action.”
Murali, and others at Perkins + Will, always encouraged Saad to trust his instincts and stand up for his opinions. The amount of effort that went into mentoring him really helped solidify the experience as a positive one for Saad.
In addition to learning from his colleagues, Saad also had the opportunity to teach them a thing or two. Over time, Saad learned the importance of providing his honest opinions and became more comfortable giving constructive criticism to his superiors. In doing so, Saad not only strengthened his skills, but this also made him confident that he was on the right track to success.
“Oftentimes, the most experienced people have been doing the same work for years. As an intern, you present a fresh outsider’s perspective that can really have a positive impact in terms of innovation for any firm,” Saad explained.
Looking for an internship of your own? Check out some of Saad’s tips!
- Check out internship opportunities posted online, including Handshake: “Once you find a few opportunities that are exciting for you, spend a lot of time learning about that company and creating a cover letter and resume that showcases your skills and abilities to best fit the requirements of that position.”
- Be strategic about where and how you are applying to internships: “Be patient. I’ve seen many friends make the mistake of applying to as many internship positions as possible…I actually made the same mistake at first. I think people do this out of the insecurity of not getting an internship, so they just apply everywhere…When you apply to a lot of places that you’re not really interested in, you risk the chance of your resume and cover letter seeming too generic.”
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help by scheduling an appointment with a career advisor!
Want to learn more about DePaul’s University Internship Program? Check it out, here, or send inquiries to UIP@depaul.edu. Need help finding an internship? Visit depaul.joinhandshake.com, or come into DePaul’s Career Center to meet with an advisor.